Jul 01, 2000

Strata Property Act, Continued #325

Jul 01, 2000

Strata Property Act, Continued #325

By Gerry Neely
B.A. LL.B.

An owner-developer now has the opportunity until the first annual general meeting to amend the strata plan to designate parking stalls as limited common property for the use of strata lot owners and, in addition, to designate up to two extra stalls for their use. "Extra" means those stalls set aside for parking that remain after provision is made for one stall per strata lot, plus one stall per ten strata lots for visitors, or any greater number required by governmental authority.

The Strata Property Act gives a strata corporation the right to grant to an owner the exclusive use of common property or assets, but only for a period of up to one year. The regulations grandfather a similar right granted under the Condominium Act until it expires.

The Strata Property Act provides for the designation by an owner-developer, or strata corporation, of different sections to represent the owners of residential and non-residential strata lots. The regulations describe the sections that apply to residential owners as apartment-style strata lots, townhouse-style strata lots or detached houses. Formulas establish the amount to be paid to the operating fund, the contingency reserve fund and for special assessments, for only those strata lots that benefit from the use of limited common property, or which benefit in some other way not shared by the remaining strata lots.

Under the Condominium Act, strata councils were able to impose fines of so much per day. The Strata Property Act regulations limit the frequency to seven days. The maximum fine for a breach of a rental bylaw is $500 and the maximum fine for a breach of any other bylaw is $200.

The regulations also require a strata corporation to have no less than $2,000,000 liability insurance and allow a strata corporation to set out in its bylaws a charge of up to 10 per cent per annum on late strata fees.

Bylaws in existence at July 1, 2000 may remain in effect until December 31, 2001. On January 1, 2002 they are replaced by the new standard bylaws found in the Act, except to the extent that bylaws filed in the Land Title Office are not in conflict with the Act or the regulations.

A new pet bylaw prohibits pets other than one cat or dog, up to two caged birds and a reasonable number of small caged mammals, fish or other aquarium animals. This bylaw can be replaced by a more restrictive bylaw. Pets in residence when a restrictive bylaw is passed can continue to live in the strata lot.

Similarly, a restrictive age bylaw does not apply to a person living in the strata lot at the time the bylaw was approved.

Strata councils retain the right to approve rules for the strata corporation. However, a new section of the Act provides for a short shelf life for unpopular rules, which cease to have effect at the next annual general meeting unless they are ratified by a majority vote of owners.

Habitable area, for the purpose of determining unit entitlement, is the area of a residential lot that that can be lived in, excluding patios, balconies, garages, parking stalls or storage areas other than closet space.

Fees for the use of common property or assets may only be charged if the fees are reasonable and are set out in the bylaws or in a rule ratified by the owners. Compliance with this regulation by strata corporations incorporated under the Condominium Act is postponed until January 1, 2002.

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